Facebook to reinstate Aussie news after government amends code


Facebook will reinstate Australian news on its platform after the Morrison government agreed to further amend its mandatory media bargaining code.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg confirmed the last-minute legislative changes this afternoon after days of negotiations with the social media giant.

“These amendments will provide further clarity to digital platforms and news media businesses about the way the code is intended to operate and strengthen the framework for ensuring news media businesses are fairly remunerated,” he said.

“The government has been advised by Facebook that it intends to restore Australian news pages in the coming days.”

The amendments will give parties more time to broker agreements before they are forced to enter binding arbitration.

The changes also clarify the government’s role in considering commercial deals struck between parties, and give digital platforms one month’s notice before they are formally designated under the code.

Facebook said it was pleased to have reached an agreement with the government after discussions with the treasurer and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher.

“After further discussions, we are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognise the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them,” the company said.

“As a result of these changes, we can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days.”

It comes after Facebook removed all news from its Australian pages last Thursday, with some key government agencies – including SA Health and the Bureau of Meteorology – caught up in the news ban.

Facebook has since reinstated the pages that were “inadvertently” impacted, and said the mix up occurred because the “law does not provide clear guidance on the definition of news content”. 

Earlier today, key crossbench senator Jacquie Lambie tore strips off Labor and the Greens for supporting the code.

Lambie says the code, which will require digital platforms to pay for linking to Australian news, will make media organisations even more dependent on the success of Google and Facebook.

Lambie argues the money generated will simply shift from one set of corporate titans to another.

“Shareholders of News Corp and Nine will be delighted that their dividend is about to be fattened up on the back of shareholders in Facebook and Google,” she told parliament.

Lambie said businesses wanting to advertise online would end up bearing the cost of tech giants paying for news.

“This is a bipartisan shakedown delivered by a consensus of absolute stupidity.”

And she savaged a Greens proposal to ensure money that flowed from the code was spent on journalism.

She said taxes were the best way of pumping money into journalism but argued the money shouldn’t go to media companies but journalism itself.

“If we want more money for journalism, let’s tax companies making heaps of money and put that money into supporting journalism, put it directly into journalism,” Lambie said.

“If we want Google and Facebook to pay more tax, let’s make them pay more tax.”

The bargaining code is expected to pass the Senate this week with support from Labor and the Greens, who will seek some minor amendments.

Lambie said both parties should be embarrassed about supporting the legislation.

-With AAP

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The Trump administration has been ordered to reinstate protections program for immigrant ‘Dreamers’


In a rebuke to President Donald Trump’s administration, a judge on Friday ordered the US government to reopen to first-time applicants a program that protects from deportation and grants work permits to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who live in the United States unlawfully after arriving as children, also known as ‘Dreamers’.

The action by US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn centred on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama in 2012.

The Supreme Court in June blocked Mr Trump’s 2017 bid to end DACA. His administration, however, continued its policy of not accepting new applications for the program.

Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office on 20 January, has said he plans to revitalise DACA.

Justice Garaufis directed the Department of Homeland Security to post a public notice “displayed prominently” on its websites by Monday announcing that it is accepting new DACA applications. The judge also ordered that the notice make clear that employment authorisation under DACA would last for two years rather than one.

The Supreme Court decided that the administration’s attempt to end DACA was “arbitrary and capricious” and violated federal law. Following the ruling, acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf in July issued a memo that continued to block new applications to the program while he subjected it to a “full reconsideration.”

The memo also limited employment authorisation to one year and curtailed recipients’ ability to travel outside the United States.

Joe Biden wants all ‘Dreamers’ to be granted US citizenship.

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Justice Garaufis found in November that Wolf had been unlawfully appointed to his post, meaning he did not have the authority to issue the July DACA memorandum.

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr Trump’s administration had argued that Mr Obama exceeded his constitutional powers when he created DACA by executive action, bypassing Congress. Mr Obama created DACA after Congress failed to pass bipartisan legislation to overhaul US immigration policy. DACA recipients often are called “Dreamers” based on the name of legislation considered but never passed in Congress. 



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AFL reinstate journalist Mitch Cleary after Brooke Cotchin Instagram post controversy


The AFL has backflipped on their decision to sack journalist Mitch Cleary following immense backlash from the footy community.

Cleary was reportedly stood down by AFL Media after he shared the Instagram post of Brooke Cotchin, the wife of Richmond captain Trent, which resulted in Richmond receiving a $45,000 fine.

The Tigers were one of the clubs recently punished by the league for breaching COVID-19 restrictions. Brooke broke the rules by attending a day spa — a trip that was uncovered when she posted an image of the beauty parlour to social media.

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Cleary shared Cotchin’s public post on Twitter before later deleting the image. Despite many other outlets, including news.com.au naming Cotchin, he was reportedly punished, as first revealed by The Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph.

It sparked a deluge of anger — and support for Cleary.

However, the AFL revealed Cleary had been reinstated after acknowledging the social media post was “a mistake on his behalf.”

On Monday afternoon, the AFL released a statement explaining Cleary had inadvertently ignored his department’s editorial decision.

“The AFL has today concluded an internal matter regarding a member of the AFL Media team, Mitch Cleary,” the statement read.

“Last week, AFL Media made an editorial decision to not name any family members relating to the recent club breaches of the Return to Play protocols.

“The reasoning behind this decision was to protect the wellbeing of all individual’s involved, a message that was reiterated in the official AFL Media Statement on Friday afternoon (31 July).

“Mitch mistakenly did not follow his department’s editorial decision and named a family member on his own personal Twitter channel on Friday evening.

“Upon speaking to his Editor and then realising his tweet was at odds with AFL Media’s editorial decision, Mitch immediately removed his tweet and has acknowledged it was a mistake on his behalf.

“The matter has now been resolved internally with Mitch today.”

Speaking on the AFL Exchange podcast on Monday, Cleary explained how his intention was to add greater detail to the story, and no malice was intended by sharing the image.

“I decided to tweet the photo that Brooke Cotchin had posted to her own Instagram some time before that. I felt that I was adding a layer to the story, she’d been named publicly in the days prior to that,” Cleary said.

“I felt I was just adding a bit of detail to that, no malice intended at all to Brooke. I just felt that I was doing what was required and adding detail to the story.

“Clearly I wasn’t aware of the protection of the names that we had in place and the AFL had put in place. I could see it — I should’ve been across that, really. That’s my job and that’s what I do.

“We made a call as a website not to name the individuals involved and once I was made aware of that and asked to take the post down, I did so. Basically that’s how it all wrapped up.

“The last thing I wanted to do was cause extra angst to the Cotchin family. Clearly the fine that they’ve received — and we now know they’re paying — stacks up.”

Speaking on ABC Grandstand, Cleary said he was grateful for the “heartwarming” support he has received over the past 24 hours, including a flood of texts and calls.

Brooke Cotchin also publicly apologised for her mistake on Monday afternoon, revealing she did not agree with Cleary being stood down by the AFL.

“I wish to apologise for the mistake I have made and I am deeply sorry for any angst that I have created for anyone. It was an honest mistake and one that I am incredibly remorseful for,” Cotchin posted to Instagram.

“I am the first to admit I am not perfect, and I do make mistakes, this being one that I need to own and learn from.

“Yes, we are currently living by AFL protocols whilst being tested twice a week. I had well and truly completed my 2 weeks quarantine when I attended a licensed medical facility for a treatment. I would never have attended nor posted on my social media if I was clear this was not abiding by AFL protocol.

“We decided as a family to move into the hub so we could help the AFL push through with the remainder of the season. We are incredibly grateful to have this opportunity to be together through this time as I know many people do not have that choice.

“I don’t know Mitch Cleary, but I do not agree with him being stood down and I have voiced that to the AFL. It is his job and it does not help anyone’s situation especially in current circumstances.

“Unfortunately, I had no input and it is something that is out of my control.

“I thank you all for your comments and private messages, good and bad. I have read every single one of them.

“We have not publicised that we are paying the fine, as we did not think it was necessary.

“I am hoping that this post helps explain things and puts a few minds at peace knowing that this was my mistake, which I accept total responsibility for.

“I send all my love and strength to everyone back at home. We can only imagine the challenges that everybody is facing right now.”



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Navarro calls on FDA to reinstate emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine


White House trade adviser Peter Navarro speaks with reporters at the White House, Thursday, June 18, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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UPDATED 11:19 AM PT — Tuesday, July 7, 2020

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro is asking the FDA to reinstate its emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine. He’s hoping to add weight to the request by citing several Detroit doctors who are looking to gain the authorization to conduct more testing on the drug.

While speaking to reporters Tuesday, he touted recent studies showing hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness in lowering the mortality rate of virus patients. Navarro said that study is different because it focused on treating the virus during its earlier stages.

“The previous studies that have shown no efficacy for this drug have been skewed toward late treatment, the 8 to 14 days when you’re already on your way to dying, and this drug won’t work,” he explained. “But if you get it within the first seven days when you simply have a fever, dry cough and a profound sense of fatigue…your lungs have not yet turned to glass…the virus has not yet penetrated all your other organs…and it works.”

The FDA removed its emergency use authorization in June. Navarro said the agency based the decision on false reports from the media, which he claimed is spreading “hydroxy hysteria.”

RELATED: U.S. government awards $1.6B contract to Novavax to help develop coronavirus vaccine





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